Quick Returns

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Navigational structures that make returning from a certain position to a part of the game world much easier than reach it.

Many games make challenges for players to get from one place in them to another. However, getting back may not be as interesting as a challenge either because all enemies have been conquered or the environment is known. To avoid this, game designers can provide Quick Returns that allow the players to quickly get back to specific areas they have previously been to.


Both lairs of the 'superheroes' in The Superhuman Gambit quest in Fallout 3 have secret, or hard to unlock, exits that lead to easily accessible areas. This means that players do not have to backtrack their whole was through the complexes after reaching their center. Vault 3 in Fallout: New Vegas has a similar structure in that there exists a secret way to return to the vault entrance that can only be found and activated after some exploration of the vault.

In Assassin's Creed 2 (of the Assassin's Creed series) all viewpoint, which are located on high buildings and can be quite difficult to get to, can be jumped off so the player's character lands unharmed in a pile of hay or leaves.

Torchlight lets players get Portal scrolls that allow them to go instantly back to the town that is the starting point for the game, and return back to where they were after having resupplied.

Using the pattern

Quick Returns can be created in two main ways, the first making use of some way to travel instantly between two points in the Game World and the other by Conditional Passageways. Instantaneous travel can be part of Rewards to move players back after completing goals (to let them avoid Excise) and is then often a Ultra-Powerful Events described through Cutscenes. Another option is to make Quick Returns be New and Privileged Abilities (and Privileged Movement). In contrast, fulfilling the requirements of Conditional Passageways need to first be possible after making a long journey, but when these are met player can return quickly.


Quick Returns are a way to modulate Levels, Game Worlds, or Transport Routes to remove Excise and Grinding after Traverse goals have been achieved. In doing so they are also a way to provide specials way of Movement. They are incompatible with Backtracking Levels since the main characteristic of the latter is that one needs to go through the level both ways, and when Quick Returns make use of instantaneous Movement they are a specific, typically one-way or limited use, form of Quick Travel.


Can Instantiate

Movement, New Abilities, Quick Travel, Privileged Abilities, Privileged Movement, Rewards, Ultra-Powerful Events

Can Modulate

Game Worlds, Levels, Transport Routes, Traverse

Can Be Instantiated By

Conditional Passageways

Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Backtracking Levels, Excise, Grinding


New pattern for this wiki.